Pull open Chapter 101’s heavy wooden doors and the sound of car horns or Muzak from the mall it is nested in, fade away. A Chet Baker record is playing softly, there’s self-service coffee, and wood-panelled shelves with carefully curated books—spanning a host of genres from literary classics to tomes on music, art, philosophy and business— from all over the world, line the walls.
This book store isn’t one for the latest releases, but you can chance upon and even buy a leather-bound first edition of The Human Factor by Graham Greene, published by The Franklin Library. You can spend time at a walnut-coloured table with your next find: a teal, cloth-spine 1944 edition of Essays By Francis Bacon, with intricate golden vines on its cover. In it, you may discover a pamphlet distributed by an old book club from New York of the 1940s and 1950s, introducing you to the book. The coziness of the place is kept intact by a poster requesting you to receive phone calls outside.
Set up by entrepreneur Raju Singh, Chapter 101 was a long nurtured dream, finally realized. “Since my college days, I’ve always wanted to open a book store filled with classics, the sort of books that you would covet for your own personal collection ,” Singh says. “Not one-time reads that you would easily be able to part with or toss away.” Opened in December, Chapter 101 is still coming into its own. There’s a shelf with a glass casing that holds some of the store’s most prized books. Most prominent among these is a 19-volume set of all Ernest Hemingway works, published by The Easton Press in 1990, and a signed copy of the John Updike novel S.
Among other gems you can purchase are Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote with illustrations by Salvador Dali, a daintily done Vanity Fair with illustrations by the author W.M. Thackeray himself, and a 1980 leather-bound Faust by Goethe, also from Easton Press.
If you still need more reason to visit, they have a shelf full of P.G. Wodehouse works. All 90 of them.
Chapter 101, 10.30am-7pm, (Tuesdays closed) First floor, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Gurugram.